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Eating pizza or burger w/ knife and fork

How many people eat pizza or burgers with a knife and fork and what does it say about them?
Seems to me a little pretentious to eat pizza with a knife and fork.

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  1. I say it's just how they were raised and it's no skin off your ass if they use utensils.

    the better question is: what it does it say about you to even notice or give a shit?

    we can surely find better things to worry about and I can push this one to such a point of absurdity I can earn a REALLY hard smackdown.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hill food

      Remember that episode of seinfeld where george starts eating his candy bars on a plate with a knife and fork???

      Grampart beat me to it....

    2. You may not realize this but people do judge us on our manners. Poor table manners are something that other people are usually repulsed by and unfortunately people judge harshly. I have eaten pizza and burgers many times utilizing flatware in lieu of my hands. I do so because I find it neater in many cases for me to do so. Have you noticed how huge the *mega food* is that is served in many pizza and burger venues? I can not say that I actually spear the burger onto the fork but I have had to cut it into pieces that I am able to manage and then eat the small pieces. Nothing pretentious about eating efficiently.

      16 Replies
      1. re: MamasCooking

        "Nothing pretentious about eating efficiently."

        Using a knife and fork is actually less efficient, and when it is done to force the judgments of others, it's pretty pretentious.

        As to those who "do judge us on our manners", I reiterate my response to the OP. After all, the world spins. Fashions change. I mean, now, we even let women express opinions on the issues of the day.

        1. re: MGZ

          <As to those who "do judge us on our manners">

          Why were manners developed?
          I put myself out there with good manners, opposed to the schmuck who uses caveman manners in front of others and couldn't care less about the once/week shower he/she takes and how bad they smell to others.
          Yes, the world spins, and we all have to live with each other…sometimes closer than we'd like. I'd rather be next to a person who takes the time to make sure they're not smacking their food and licking their dirty fingers than the one who's cutting up their food with a knife and fork. At least they're thoughtful. Nothing wrong with that.

          1. re: latindancer

            So, you're saying Aunt Sally needs a bath?

            1. re: latindancer

              Manners were developed to differentiate us from the lower classes, dear.

              If you remembered your courses on manners, you would remember not to throw the bones across the table at the dogs, but merely drop them at your side.

              Believe I've read more about the subject than you have, and I do believe that manners are inherently undemocratic.

            2. re: MGZ

              There is also the point that if you haven't had a chance to wash your hands and you have been riding the public subway all day hanging onto bars and straps, you might prefer not to touch your food.

              1. re: Querencia

                I wouldn't want to eat a meal with utensils in that case, either. I carry wet wipes if I can't easily wash up in a rest room.

                1. re: mcf

                  Truth be told mcf, you wouldn't be eating a bun-laden burger or a slice of pizza anyway. Ammaraight? ;)

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    In the old days in England the Cornish Pasty was invented for tin miners as a way to take their lunch down the mine. The pasty is meat, potatoes and vegetables encased in pastry. The pastry is pulled up over the meat and sealed with a single, quite thick, rolled edge across the top.

                    You traditionally ate the pasty by holding the rolled edge, and then throw it away when finished - no need to wash your hands. The original handheld portable lunch (predating sandwiches etc by many years).

                    1. re: PhilD

                      The no doubt apochryphal addition to the pasty story is that one end was savoury, while the other was sweet, with a pastry divider.

                      1. re: PhilD

                        You don't throw it away--you toss it over your shoulder to feed the tommyknockers. If they get hungry, they get cranky, and you might bump your head or lose your tools.

                      2. re: lynnlato

                        I said that upthread, I don't eat the bun. I do eat the topping off of pizza.

                        If I ever find out I'm terminal, I'll eat a slice with the crust. Then an everything bagel chaser before I croak. :-)

                        1. re: mcf

                          Ha! I'm with you... if I'm terminal, I don't want sweets, bring me pizza please.

                          my kids eat pizza on occasion and it's the lovely large-sliced NY style and I actually drool when I see and smell it. That crust is evil but so damned delicious.

                          1. re: lynnlato

                            I will occasionally break off one bite of a bubbly, crust, especially if it has sesame seeds on it, or a cornmeal crisped bottom. But just one.

                            It's been so many years, I can't recall the last tiem I ate a slice with the crust.

                            I never crave them or drool when others eat them around me any more, but if I think about it, it amazes me, because no one ever loved that first hot, melty bite of pizza more than I!

                            1. re: mcf

                              "I never crave them or drool when others eat them around me any more, but if I think about it, it amazes me, because no one ever loved that first hot, melty bite of pizza more than I!"

                              That is truly impressive. My kids ate pizza last night. There were two pieces left over and everyone was off doing their thang and I was alone with them. I couldn't resist a bite... and then I was angry that I gave in. Ha! I threw the rest in the garbage.

                    2. re: Querencia

                      OK, if there's no bathroom to wash up, otherwise, I always wash up, pizza or whatever.
                      Who would eat without washing up?

                2. my goal is to get the food to my mouth. and to try to avoid spilling it onto my clothes. that has very little to do with being pretentious. mostly, it has to do with being hungry. and, with any luck, stain free.
                  so....if a knife and fork will help accomplish the task....then that's what i do.

                  1. Seems to me that often when we see problems outside of ourselves, we should take some time to look inside of ourselves.

                    1. Apizza>by hand,
                      Burger>knife and fork, BUT I don't eat the bun. It would be tacky and greasy to pick uo the burger patty in my hand

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bagelman01

                        People do eat wings without using a knife and fork, so I guess tackiness varies...

                        1. re: Chowrin

                          wings are only tacky when prepared with a sauce........................

                      2. At times, when presented with a slice of soggy-tip pizza, I find it necessary to eat the first bite or two with a knife and fork. There is the option of bringing your plate up to mouth level and just sliding it in, but I find some folks take exception to this.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: grampart

                          Ah, the basic point that bagelman made too. It's really about "why", isn't it?

                          1. re: MGZ

                            Yup, and sometimes you just want to roll up your sleeves and tear into a haunch.

                          2. re: grampart

                            Yes! I use utensils when the tip is very soggy or the pizza is very hot and I can't wait for it to cool off. When the pizza is of a more manageable size and/or temperature, I will finish eating by hand.

                            I use a knife and fork for practical reasons and not for pretense.

                            1. re: Kate is always hungry

                              Ditto on the pizza.

                              The only time I've ever eaten a burger with a knife and fork is when part of the way through eating the burger, the bun disintegrates so there's no non-messy way of eating it anymore.

                          3. If they are eating Neapolitan-style pizza, it probably says they don't want grease running down their arms.

                            1. I eat pizza with a knife and fork most of the time. Never occurred to me to wonder if people thought I was pretentious. Now that I've been alerted to this possibility, I must say I don't give a crap.

                              14 Replies
                                1. re: grampart

                                  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ALL YOU PEOPLE! (Elaine Benes, not me ;-)

                                  1. re: coll

                                    Naples, Italy- knife and fork

                                    Naples, Florida- hands and gums

                                2. re: Hobbert

                                  No kidding. My parents are both European (came to the US from separate countries in early adulthood) and they raised my brother and me to eat pizza with fork and knife. I do eat my pizza by hand sometimes, but more often than not it's with a knife and fork, and I've never cared what people thought about it. It's the way I was raised and I like it. If someone has a problem with it, well, then, that's their problem; not mine.

                                  1. re: wapfcat

                                    I was just going to mention this. I had very good pizza in Amsterdam, and everybody in the place ate with knife and fork. They looked at us like we had lost our minds when we suggested cutting the pie into pieces. However, I've also eaten pizza in Italy, with Italians, who ate it American style, by hand.

                                    1. re: Hobbert

                                      I've been flamed on CH for saying that I prefer to use a fork for french fries if the rest of the food on the plate is eaten with a fork. When it's a burger or sandwich, I use my hands on the fries as long as the ketchup is in a puddle for dipping. If the ketchup is poured over the fries, I use a fork. Where the ketchup goes is a function of how easily it pours from the bottle. Puddle if it's easy, all over if it's stubborn. I don't know how or why I adopted this policy but I was really surprised that people think it's pretentious. I don't pay much attention to how other people use - or don't use - utensils, but AM very sensitive to noisy eating.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        You know, now that I think about it, I do that too. Burger and fries- I eat the fries by hand. Steak and fries- I use a fork. I just dislike getting my hands dirty while I'm eating and it's do easy to spear a fry and munch away.

                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                          Side thought - does it seem like cultures with less access to fresh water (for washing) seem to be more inclined to eat with their hands?

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            Huh. That's true. Ethiopian and Indian come to mind. Both countries have barriers to clean water in large areas and both are traditionally eaten by hand. Interesting. I wonder why that is or if it's just an arbitrary coincidence.

                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                              I suspect that lack of water and lack of utensils go hand in hand (intended) since both are reflections of extreme poverty.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                That's definitely true but those nations weren't always poor and it would be cheaper to buy a fork than to make injera at every meal. I confess I don't know much about why those cuisines traditionally don't use utensils any more than I know why Chinese cuisine uses chopsticks. Probably just to for me to eat slowly...

                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                  I think in Asia you can trace the eating methods based on the tribes/nations that invaded each geography (long before modern borders formed).

                                                  And there is some academic research that links the eating style with the underlying cultural traits. So those countries that use chopsticks in the various forms have similar underlying cultural traits, and those who use their hands share the same traits. I assume the same invaders may have spread from Central Asia down through Africa as well.

                                                  1. re: PhilD

                                                    Great point. Thanks for weighing in.

                                    2. Don't care. If the pizza is really hot I'll use utensils. If I'm avoiding eating the bun the hamburger came on then, again, I'll use utensils. And all the time not caring what people think.

                                      1. I've eaten pizza with a knife and fork, once. I was in Chicago for an interview and they served deep dish pizza. While dressed in a brand new suit that I didn't want to get dirty, I used a knife and fork without hesitation just as everyone else did.

                                        I don't eat a whole burger with a knife and fork but I often cut it in half before eating.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          I once read in an old etiquette book that the proper way to eat a burger or other sandwich was by cutting and eating with a fork. I've never done that but I do cut my burgers in half before eating them.

                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                            I'm not sure I've ever seen someone manage to eat a slice of Chicago-style pizza with their hands.

                                          2. In 14 yearly visits to Italy, I've noted they eat pizza with a knife and fork. I do too, but my wife doesn't. So what?

                                            1. Says more about you that you ask the question this way.

                                              1. As others have said doesn't it depend on the style of burger or pizza? A large, sloppy/soft traditional Italian pizza needs a knife and fork (that's why italians use them). A thicker US stile one is OK with hands. Same with a burger; some are so big with so much salad etc you can't eat them with your hands that easily, but a well proportioned burger needs hands.

                                                On top of this there is the time and place question. Nice restaurant in Europe then knife and fork, standing next to a food cart in LA then hands.

                                                So aren't good manners determined by the ability to make the right choice based on the nature of the dish, where you are and who you are with. Insisting on eating a big sloppy burger smothered in chilli with your hands when dining with others who use knife and fork in a restaurant with tablecloths - is probably more about you proving a point than making a sensible dining decision. The same would be true of someone asking for a knife and fork from a burger cart.

                                                1. Eating pizza with a knife and fork seems pretty normal to me, and I wouldn't blink twice. Large, floppy pizza slices, or ones that are overloaded with toppings, can be messy to eat by hand.

                                                  Eating a burger with a knife and fork, however, seems unnecessarily complicated and messy - that would seem odd to me, like someone trying to eat nachos with a fork. If the burger is so big it can't fit in your mouth or be picked up without spilling stuff all over the place, it's a poorly designed burger.

                                                  1. Who cares? Seriously....I am not being snotty....why would it be important to anyone? Does it matter at all?

                                                    The only thing "it says about them" is that they don't want their hands greasy.

                                                    1. Depends on the pizza and the setting. I used to get an occasional Neapolitan-style pizza at a restaurant, which was served on a plate (not on a baking dish or in a cardboard box). I ate it with knife and fork. If you think it's pretentious, that's just too bad.

                                                      In a less formal setting I'll pick it up, but I don't want it falling apart. If the pointed end sags, I'll cut it off and eat it with a fork, even in a saloon. Pretentious? So what.

                                                      1. There are burgers that cannot be eaten with anything but a knife and a fork. A big knife. And a big fork.

                                                        Same for pizza.

                                                        So what does it say about them? It say they're smart.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          For example, I want to know what creature on this earth eats this burger (the infamous DB Moderne burger) without a knife and fork?

                                                          Even a boa constrictor would have pause.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            Hands or silverware, that thing needs to be deconstructed. This is the $30 job with foiegras, right? Kills the spirit of a hamburger on so many levels

                                                                1. re: chileheadmike

                                                                  The hunch...gotta do the hunch...tho i think they'd frown upon that at DB's

                                                            1. Thicker crusted pizza with a droopy middle, in public. . . knife and fork please. Did it for dinner tonight.

                                                              Pizza in Florence, Italy, knife and fork please.

                                                              Burger, I might cut it into smaller portions, but that would be it for me.

                                                              1. Pizza with a knife and fork because:

                                                                1) It's too hot to hold but I am hungry NOW.

                                                                2) I hate it when the cheese and the rest of the toppings 'escape' so I pin them down with the fork- problem solved. Plus, it's easier to redistribute tasty toppings into optimally chosen perfect bites.

                                                                3) I'm already holding adequate tools to defend myself when my SO reaches for another slice even though he's already blown through his half.

                                                                If I see you eat a burger with utensils I may or may not repress the urge to smack you. I'm not saying it's rational, I'm just saying you've been warned.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: PinkLynx

                                                                  I eat burgers sans bun, so leave me alone with my knife and fork and I won't bother you nor call the cops to report the assault and battery.

                                                                  I'll be the one doubled with mirth over your inability to get the right bite of pizza without utensils. :-)

                                                                2. have you ever heard of a neopolitan pizza?

                                                                  here is a video of the famous chef Anthony Bourdain eating pizza in naples, italy.
                                                                  the pizza is served unsliced and is only eaten with a knife and fork.
                                                                  the clip has bourdain explaining the "rules" of making a proper neopolitan pie.

                                                                  maybe before you criticize people for being pretentious, educate yourself about one of the traditional forms of pizza that is actually served in MANY places other than italy.
                                                                  there is a VPM certified pizzaria 10 minutes from my home here in california



                                                                  1. Seems to me a little pretentious to eat pizza with a knife and fork.
                                                                    and it seems to me....pretentious to comment on how, or how others....eat pizza, a burger or anything else.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                      Agreed, 100%.

                                                                      I eat pizza (and most things) with a knife and a fork because I just really, really have a sensory issue with getting food on my hands.

                                                                      I don't eat hamburgers, but I do actually eat wings with a knife and a fork, and yes, I know this is weird. After this many years though, I am incredibly efficient at getting all the meat off the bones with just utensils though.

                                                                      I don't think any of this is pretentious. It would be if I thought that others needed to use a knife and fork. But I don't. Anyone else is free to get as much food on their hands as they want. If you want to eat mashed potatoes with your hands, go for it. (Though, for your sake, I hope that you have fastidious hand washing practices.) It just isn't for me personally.

                                                                    2. If you were just asking out of curiosity is one thing, but assuming that to do so is pretentious is very judgemental. Who decided that one must eat only certain foods with the hands vs with a fork? Yes etiquette exists to make others around us feel more comfortable, and to instill a sense of civility; that is something that should be positive. However, there is a huge difference between wearing sweat pants to a 5 star restaurant, discussing fart jokes at the table, or using utensils to eat a burger. If you were to judge me for eating my burger with a fork (which I often do) I would most likely think that you're the one being pretentious. If you're wondering as to why, I hate getting dirty while eating and I personally find it more rude to constantly be leaving the table to wash my hands than simply to use my utensils... Which just so happen to be on the table, assumedly to be used:)

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                        oh Nicole you're such a freak. so I suppose you don't heft a slice of shepherd's pie in hand as well? au fait weirdo. (smirk)

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          Nicole since it's been a while and the thread has been revived - I was just kidding, OK?

                                                                          no need even to respond.

                                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                              I'm on her side. unless a place wants to supply finger bowls and/or steamed towels, I am often defaulting to utensils. and if it's a fast food joint I want that burger or whatever wrapped, not in a box so I can use the paper to keep my fingers separate (as I don't always know where they've been)

                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                My maternal grandmother (of German Descent) always taught is that it was required to use utensils when eating at a properly set dining table.

                                                                                Thus, a burger or apizza served at the dining table set with china, flatware, glassware and napkins--use your knife and fork.

                                                                                Outside at the picnic table, feel free to pick up that piece of fried chicken, burger or hot dog in your hand.

                                                                                Utensil use was not a function of the food to be eaten, but the setting where one eats.

                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                  the corollary of which was my middle school etiquette lessons (part of Home Ec -- gone the way of the dinosaurs) --

                                                                                  The teacher asked if you would use your hands or a knife and fork to eat fried chicken at a formal banquet.

                                                                                  One of the boys who, um, needed the etiquette classes a little more than some of the others, replied, "who the hell serves fried chicken at a formal banquet?"

                                                                                  After the uproar simmered down, the reality was that no, nobody serves fried chicken at a formal dinner. But IF THEY DID, you'd use a knife and fork.

                                                                      2. right now I eat my pizza, ribs, wings, sandwiches and burgers with a knife and fork - I have braces on my teeth and it's very painful to bite through anything with my front teeth.

                                                                        never judge - you don't know why people do what they do. :)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                          exactly me thought. There are a lot of reasons why people might eat things neatly and delicately. And pretty much unless it is imposing on your pleasure, it's none of your business.

                                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                            Juju, I've been thinking about you. You're still welcome to borrow the juicer.

                                                                            1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                              Thanks CP, I'll let you know! Things are going really well now, the ortho is really happy with the progress. :) We're halfway through his predicted year-of-torture, with a consult coming up soon to discuss how we move forward.

                                                                              last night we ordered our favorite pizza, and I ate *most* of it with a knife and fork... it was delicious. :)

                                                                          2. Where I am in the world, people usually eat pizza with a knife & fork. Main exceptions are children eating in American style fast food places or takeaway.

                                                                            Burgers I usually eat with my hands (well, actually, I eat it with my mouth and teeth) - it's a sandwich, after all - although there's one place nearby that puts so much "stuff" on theirs that it's easier to eat with knife and fork

                                                                            I have never considered that it might be thought of as pretentious or, indeed, that people who eat it with their hands might be the opposite of pretentious (whatever that is).

                                                                            I've also never considered whether one method is more "efficient" than other. The concept of efficiency as related to me eating a meal has passed me by completely and that's hoiw it;s going to remain.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                              and it hasn't been that long ago, Harters, that it was quite commonplace to eat tea sandwiches -- AND burgers with a knife and fork.

                                                                              I distinctly remember the buyers from a UK company being quite proud of themselves for taking us to TGI Fridays (a mediocre-at-best American chain) in Southampton....where we all proceeded to eat our burgers with knife and fork.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                When McD came to Manchester (1984) friends went and were first mystified and then horrified that there were no knives & forks. We'd had our first trip to the States in 1980 and were able to tell them later that this was how it's supposed to be.

                                                                            2. A recent thread on this topic, at least with regard to pizza:


                                                                              Is this what prompted your question?

                                                                              1. why does it matter?

                                                                                the american model of hospitality is around meeting the needs of the guest. If sometime makes someone enjoy the food better than so be it as long as it doesn't infringe of the rights of your dining neighbors.

                                                                                I've hosted barbeques with friends from europe where they are the only ones eating ribs of fried chicken with flatware. they ask if that's ok, and I reply, "you are our guest. enjoy the food however you live."

                                                                                1. I'm with you, Brutus!.If Romans/Italians wanted ppl to use cutlery on their pizza, they'd make having a knife a law and giving all the senators one!

                                                                                  Even worse are ppl who eat lobster with anything other than a cracker for the claws. Us unpretentious types know.you cover the table with layers of newsprint, melted butter, and let ppl imitate the chicken scene in Tom Jones. The most pretentious part is those folks that come to the table wearing clothes. EVERYONE knows it is best to eat lobster naked! You know you're gonna get some on you and showering after..or a quick dip in the ocean/pool is the only way to get the smell off. Those of the religious fundamental persuasion sometimes wear t-shirts, which I guess in these days of 'tolerance" might be ok.

                                                                                  Of course, for any other meal, ppl must get fully dressed for dinner if they want to be pretentious. Some "gentlemen" even wear ties and coats and women wear dresses! Spare me!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                  1. If I am eating a burger that will obviously create an incredible mess I will eat it with a knife and a fork. Same goes for pizza.

                                                                                    There is a place in Seattle called The Northlake Tavern. Good luck picking up their pizza and eating it.

                                                                                    1. Knife and fork on a pizza is accepted, 'specially when it get dropped at your table, hot and happy, and the tips can be unwieldy. As it cools a bit, the utensils aren't necessary, dig in with your hands as God intended. None of this applies to takeout pie.

                                                                                      Knife and fork on a burger? Madness

                                                                                      1. Burgers- would never occur to me to use utensils unless the thing is falling apart as I eat it.
                                                                                        Pizza- I eat with my hands unless it's really wet.

                                                                                        I used to defer to others about using utensils with pizza. If people at the table picked up utensils, so did I.
                                                                                        Now I don't let that dictate what I do.
                                                                                        Life's too short.

                                                                                        1. If you were in Europe, your post might read instead:

                                                                                          "how many people eat pizza or burgers with their hands and what does it say about them?

                                                                                          Seems a little boorish to eat pizza with your hands."

                                                                                          It's all about the context.

                                                                                          1. I do. Dental issues mean that I can't really bite with my front teeth.

                                                                                            1. I spent 2 painful years undergoing full mouth dental reconstruction. I couldn't bite into food without pain or a really weird tooth feeling. Considering I love to eat, I started using a knife and fork for EVERYTHING. Now, it's force of habit, plus I'll never forget that sharp shoot of pain that went straight to my brain.

                                                                                              1. roobnla: aww c'mon back and post, we're not beating up on you, just curious.

                                                                                                my Greataunt and Grandmother always ate their burgers (any sandwich really) with flatware which I thought was kinda freakish (upstate New York and uptight WASP). but if it's sloppy, it's sloppy. (and they all pronounced that Italian dish as "PITZ-ah")

                                                                                                1. My parents have 'weak' teeth and cut up everything. And have done so since their 40's. So there could be more to it and meets the eye.

                                                                                                  1. Pizza, naa no knife or fork. Burgers I have but only because they were so thick it was easier to cut it into small bites than try taking a bite of it.

                                                                                                    At the end of the meal .. who cares how it was eaten. As long as it tasted good is what matters.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: HillbillyCook

                                                                                                      exactly. I"m clueless how anyone could care what utensil or lack of utensil someone else uses to eat and enjoy their food.

                                                                                                    2. I like to eat my pizza in a cup....

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                          "For one dollar I'll guess your weight, your height, or your sex."

                                                                                                      1. In my experience traveling in Europe, pizza is rarely sliced and therefore requires a knife and fork.

                                                                                                        1. Much of the world eats pizza with a knife and fork. Including people in Naples, where it was invented. They may eat sliced pizza by hand in the streets, too, but in a restaurant, a pizza tends to be a one-person dish, served whole on a dinner plate.

                                                                                                          I eat large, unwieldy burgers with a knife and fork because I don't like getting greasy fingers or wearing my food. I could not care less about whether you or anyone else thinks that's pretentious.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: emu48

                                                                                                            Watching PBS's Burt Wolf's What We Eat episode about tomatoes, I learned that pizza began in Naples, but as a thin round of dough topped with oil and herbs before baking. I doubt that utensils were used to eat it. It wasn't until tomatoes arrived from the New World that the dish began to resemble the modern pizza. Adhering to the "authentic" way of eating pizza isn't relevant but neatness IS, and that's reason enough for utensils.

                                                                                                          2. If I recall properly, most pizzerias in Italy serve pizzas right out of the oven without being cut into slices like here in the US. It would be amusing to watch you eat one without using a knife and fork!

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                              Couldn't you use them to cut it into NY style slices and pick those up? ;-)

                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                Sure could...or better yet avoid any unnecessary contact with utensils by folding it in half, then again in quarters and then just chomping down. This works great with 16" pies from Pizza Hut. Yum!

                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl


                                                                                                                  I'll take your word about Pizza Hut.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                    most neopolitan pies are too floppy for that, mcf.

                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal


                                                                                                                      It was humor.

                                                                                                                      That's what the smiley is there for.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        humor - pff a hopeless pretense of the desperate bourgeois.

                                                                                                                        the smiley face is just indicative of the haunting, hunting, killing moon. and the Kool-Aid pitcher! and cookie-making stoners in 1975!

                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                            I still kick myself for not getting the t-shirt from the mid 80's of the classic pitcher done vis a vis an Andy Warhol portrait.

                                                                                                                          2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            LOL... were there still cookie making stoners in 75?

                                                                                                                  2. a "NY style" Slice of pizza - one that has been cut from a round pie into a wedge shaped slice - is designed to be eaten by hand - it is essentially street food - eating it with a fork is equivalent to eating a taco, a gyro or a soft pretzel with a fork - Odd - but whatever floats your boat just know you look silly

                                                                                                                    A burger likewise is a sandwich - the bread is there specifically so you can pick it up - otherwise you could eat a Salisbury steak and some dinner rolls - it is food made and assembled with the thought that you will use your hands

                                                                                                                    In Italy - the pizza I have had has been square - not designed to be folded in half - and unless you get an end piece does not have a crust end by which to hold it - different beast

                                                                                                                    Chicago pizza - Honestly I am mystified at how to approach deep dish pizza - spoon?

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                      "Chicago pizza - Honestly I am mystified at how to approach deep dish pizza - spoon?"

                                                                                                                      Soup spoon.

                                                                                                                      1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                        "I am mystified at how to approach deep dish pizza - spoon?"


                                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                                          "In Italy - the pizza I have had has been square" - probably in Rome and served by weight? In cities like Naples its generally round (and not cut up).

                                                                                                                          1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                            Mostly I have spent time in the North - Milan, Como, Tuscany and also Rome. Big bucket list is extended visit to the South. My understanding of Neapolitan Pizza is that it is served as we in the US would term "Personal Pizza" style - there is a restaurant that I go to that serves these - again appropriate for fork and knife

                                                                                                                            but cutting into a big o'l slice of NY-Style pizza leaves you looking like a goofball like this guy http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/...

                                                                                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                              Both kinds are standard in Rome.

                                                                                                                              "Square" pizza is called pizza al taglio. It is usually baked in a pan and cut to the size desired then weighed. It is typical of Rome but not exclusive to Rome. It is normally sold during the day in specific shops and is virtually street food. Round pizza ("pizza tonda") is also typical of Rome (and elsewhere, notably Naples), but is served at tables on plates with knife and fork. Whether the knife and fork are used to cut each bite or just slices is another kettle of fish.

                                                                                                                          2. when it comes to others' manners, i only care if they are doing something gross, offensive, or otherwise disgusting, and especially if it involves noises or isn't easily ignored for some other reason.

                                                                                                                            using a knife and fork doesn't qualify. unless, i suppose, they're wielding the implements like a shovel and a machete.

                                                                                                                            excluding that, i find people who judge others' (reasonable, polite, and non-invasive) eating choices and habits to be a little pretentious. i think what using a knife and fork for pizza/burger says, in this case, is that OP needs a hobby.

                                                                                                                            1. I had a very proper English boss years ago who would only eat his burger with knife and fork.

                                                                                                                              I also had a French girlfriend who only ate pizza with knife and fork. That's the way her parents did it.

                                                                                                                              My only experience with real Italian pizza was in Milano where the simple dough and red gravy was folded into a tri-fold and my Italian hosts all ate it with their hands.

                                                                                                                              Emily Post said that asparagus is a finger food (which might make the overdone spears a little sloppy) and delineated that fried chicken is a finger food if served outdoors but should be eaten with knife and fork indoors.

                                                                                                                              I'll just take my cues from the surrounding crowd rather than worry about it.

                                                                                                                              1. a burger is a sandwich. but people like to be difficult and argumentative, so I sometimes like to make "burgers" like this:

                                                                                                                                1. Like at least one other poster here, dental issues make eating a pub-style burger by hand -- I haven't had a fast-food burger in 20+ years -- difficult/sloppy/impractical. So, knife and fork it is. (As a result, I've gotten in the habit of not eating the bun top.)

                                                                                                                                  I don't have thin-crust pizza often; I'm not even sure where I'd find a good one near me. I do have a soft spot for an occasional Uno deep-dish, which pretty much requires knife and fork.

                                                                                                                                  1. I sometimes eat pizza with a knife and fork, especially if it has toppings. It's more practical.

                                                                                                                                    1. If I'm alone, I eat pizza with scissors: cut off a bite and then spear it with them slightly open and pop it in my mouth. Not sure how that started, but I'm guessing it's because I had scissors handy from cutting the slices and didn't feel like going back into the kitchen for napkins.

                                                                                                                                      But if I'm with others, or in public, I mostly use my hands, unless it's really soggy and messy, and then I may use a knife and fork for the pointy end.

                                                                                                                                      1. I've seen people use a knive and fork for the Costco special combo and at little ceasar's (.99¢/slice). I just find it so wrong. The level of their sophistication is so unsophisticated. Pizza is a working class/proletarian/poor man's dish for people like myself. You eat it w/ ur hands!

                                                                                                                                        Using a fork and knife doesn't mean a person is clean. In the cases mentioned above it looks pretentious(??!!!). Or in my proletarian and unsophisticated language it looks plain fake. :D

                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: UcytheBull

                                                                                                                                          or it just looks like the person eating it might have been taught table manners in another culture, which is then none of your allegations.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                            Insanity! How far should we go in kowtowing to the customs of other cultures? I for one refuse to stop wearing deodorant, take long, paid vacations, spell "honor" with an unnecessary "u", or remove my shoes indoors (I'll cave on topless beaches, if I must). What's next Sharia Law????

                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                              I know, right?

                                                                                                                                              Can't even eat your Italian pizza with a German beer, sitting on Scandinavian pizza, watching a French film on your Japanese TV without some damned forrinner trying to screw it all up.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                Scandi pizza? Would that have herring on it? ;)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                  I'm more troubled by WHO than WHAT is "sitting on Scandinavian pizza".

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bkeats


                                                                                                                                                    Scandinavian FURNITURE.

                                                                                                                                                    (someday science will figure out why my brain does some of the shit it does.)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                        actually, Ikea DOES make pizza...probably wouldn't make a good thing to sit on.....

                                                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                  "That's the upside of only taking two weeks off in August, n'est pa ?"

                                                                                                                                              2. re: UcytheBull

                                                                                                                                                Great first Chowhound post. Written in almost classic flame style.

                                                                                                                                                My congratulations. As a reward, please feel free to come to any of my local Italian places where, when you eat pizza with your hands, you'll be the main attraction, as everyone turns to look at you in some interest. Dinner will be on me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: UcytheBull

                                                                                                                                                  Hi dear, I'm sorry if people like me had ever offended your standards, for I might have an understanding of what you mean.

                                                                                                                                                  I with all honesty do use utensils whenever I am served my meal knowing that I didn't wash my hands before eating, and I also simply use my hands when I know they're clean for dry food (fries, desert garnish ..etc).

                                                                                                                                                  Also if the food is hot, has sauce in it, soggy or simply has a distinct aroma to it that might stick to my hands afterwards, I usually use utensils anyway. That is how I personally am at whatever restaurant I go to despite class difference.

                                                                                                                                                  So to me it's not just a matter of etiquette and definitely far from pretension as you suggested (knowing that people go to restaurants to eat, not watch others and criticise or judge them for all they know), but it's a matter of pure common sense and self preference, which I assure you most -if not all- of the people you noticed resort to this manner are thinking the same.

                                                                                                                                                2. Seems to be a popular question. Check out current discussion over in France Chowhound http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/977433

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mexivilla

                                                                                                                                                    I suspect it is only a popular question amongst north Americans. I cannot recall ever reading a "should I use a utensil to eat this" on any European-led board.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                                      because in Europe, it's pretty easy. Use utensils.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                        Not for fish and chips on the way back from the pub....its fun juggling really hot chips in frozen hands in the middle of winter.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                          was anybody here talking about the etiquette of wolfing down street food while stumbling home drunk at 3am?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                            Lots - there was a whole section of the discussion about take away pizza and how you fold it to stop it dripping.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: PhilD

                                                                                                                                                              You see a lot of that on the streets of Naples -- pizza folded for walking around. But if you sit at the table, it is correct to use knife and fork. But after a perfunctory few bites, it's quite common to use the utensils just to cut slices, which you then pick up. US pizza is much larger and drippier and, paradoxically, it would be more logical to use a fork and knife, but then you would have to take it out of the cardboard box.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                            actually, even for pretzels, it's more common to stand at one of the tall tables and finish your pretzel, not wander down the street munching.

                                                                                                                                                            (obviously the rules wander a bit at 3am....)

                                                                                                                                                    2. Let's see

                                                                                                                                                      Have glass of vodka

                                                                                                                                                      Time for the incantation
                                                                                                                                                      jr...jr...jr...I need you

                                                                                                                                                      How do you feel about eating a burger with a knife & fork versus the flip?

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bkeats

                                                                                                                                                        I'd just as soon use a spoon than flip...

                                                                                                                                                      2. I've eaten certain burgers with a knife and fork. They were huge, messy, I was wearing something nice, and I wanted to be able to eat quickly without worrying about making a mess. I would rather eat what I want with a knife and fork rather than eat a measly salad or something because I'm worried about people judging my use of utensils.

                                                                                                                                                        I've also eaten pizza with a fork and knife, but that's not a typical thing. In that case the pizza was too hot for me to hold, but I was too hungry/impatient to wait.

                                                                                                                                                        Actually, I am currently eating a Sloppy Joe with a knife and fork. Not quite a burger, but still. Why? Well, typing this would certainly be more messy had I used my hands.

                                                                                                                                                        If this makes me pretentious, I'm fairly certain I won't cry too hard about it.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. I can't eat burger without using knife and fork.
                                                                                                                                                          Hate it, it sucks.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Those crappy floppy pizzas only leave two options for eating ( if you choose to eat them, I try and avoid as much as possible) either fold it over and let the inevitable grease drip from the crease or use a knife and fork. I really don't care how people choose to eat it. It's the fact that they choose to at all that leaves me scratching my head.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rasputina

                                                                                                                                                              What's crappy about foldable slices? I don't get it.